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Chiefs defensive lineman Charles Omenihu will have to work hard for his incentives

Kansas City’s deal with the former 49ers player includes $4 million in bonuses — but they won’t be easy to earn.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

As we told you when he was signed to the team in mid-March, free agent defensive lineman Charles Omenihu signed a two-year, $20 million contract with the Kansas City Chiefs.

A few days later, we got the contract details for the former San Francisco 49ers player.

Omenihu’s cap hit for this season consists of 2023’s pro-rated share of his signing bonus (which at $7.5 million, turned out to be $250,000 more than initially reported) plus the NFL minimum salary for a player with four credited seasons ($1.08 million) and a $20,000 roster bonus. That comes to a cap hit of just $4.9 million for this season.

All of those amounts — totaling $8.6 million — were guaranteed at signing. In addition, $2 million of the following year’s salary ($6.74 million) will become guaranteed if he is still on the roster on the third day of the 2024 league year.

In 2024, Omenihu will also earn a $30,000 roster bonus for every game he’s on the roster (potentially as much as $510,000) and a $150,000 workout bonus.

If he earns all of that, his 2024 cap hit will be $11.2 million on cash paid of $7.4 million.

At that time, we also knew that Omenihu would have up to $2 million in not-likely-to-be-earned (NLTBE) incentives in each of the two seasons he’s expected to be under contract in Kansas City.

Writing for The 33rd Team on Wednesday, Ari Meirov reported the specifics for several of the league’s NLBTE incentives — including those in Omenihu’s contract.

Incentive Amount
65% def snaps $500,000
65% def snaps
Team makes playoffs
$1 million
65% def snaps
Team makes AFCCG
$1.5 million
65% def snaps
Team wins Super Bowl
$2 million

Essentially, Omenihu’s $2 million in incentives for each contract year are broken into four $500,000 payments: one for playing 65% of the Chiefs’ defensive snaps, plus three playoff bonuses. One of those is paid if the team makes the playoffs, another is paid if the team makes the AFC championship game and another is collected if the team wins the Super Bowl. Omenihu must earn the first incentive before he is eligible for any of the three postseason payments. As NLTBE incentives, each of the four would be counted against the following year’s salary cap.

We’ve recently seen these NLTBE bonuses in Kansas City contracts where a player missed games or had an off year in the previous season. Since the “not likely” characterization is based only on the player’s performance in the previous season, incentives for such a player can be pretty easy to earn.

But that doesn’t seem to be the case with Omenihu’s extra money. Over a four-year NFL career with the 49ers (and before that with the Houston Texans), he’s never appeared in more than 54% of his team’s defensive snaps. In 2022, Chris Jones (80%) was the only Kansas City defensive lineman to exceed 65% — although George Karlaftis (64%) and Frank Clark (63%) came close.

In this case, the Chiefs seem to want Omenihu to really earn these incentives. If he should end up playing 65% (or more) of the team’s defensive snaps in two Super Bowl-winning seasons, he will clearly have done exactly that.

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